Last weekend at church God again spoke to my heart. What was spoken confirmed that I am headed in the right direction. This did not/does not come with a lack of tears or sorrow at the thought of goodbyes and leaving those I love here! But it is enough for me to press on!
God, with his great love for us, in his continual pursuit to draw us back to Himself after the separation caused by sin in the garden of Eden, sent his Son, Jesus Christ to this earth. Jesus, God in the flesh, both God and man. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to wrap our human minds/thoughts around it! Just from these few sentences, a flurry of Scriptures are swirling around in my head.
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”
“And the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
WOW. Jesus, the Son, accepted the call from his Father, to come rescue us from our sickness and sin! Reading through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) we can see not only the “God” side of Christ, but his human struggles as well! He asked that the cup might pass from Him; but in the end, He chose obedience, even to the point of death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8). He suffered; He sacrificed. (Philippians 1:29; Hebrews 2:17-18; 1 Peter 2:21, 3:18, 4:1-2, 12-19; 2 Timothy 1:8-10. So, why aren’t we who claim to be Christians, aka “Christ followers,” more willing to be obedient to Him even if the cost is such things? The cost of disobedience is so much more; the blessings of obedience are so great! It was this message and truth that struck my heart and brought tears to my eyes, once again.
Then later in the week, I read Matthew 13. There are so many amazing truths within just this one chapter! For those of you who have read it, there is the parable of the sower (then it is explained), story of the mustard seed, and the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value. We are all in different places in our lives; and for those of us who believe, our journeys with Him are different. But what I want to encourage you in is this: when we hear the Word of God, we must not allow “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke it out”! (13:22). Satan, the enemy, is real, and his purpose is to try and separate us from Christ, and to steal the joy and abundant life we have in Him! He is prowling; we must be aware and ask the Lord to help us guard our hearts! (1 Peter 5:8-10; Proverbs 4:23).
Also, no matter who we are, or where we are, we have the opportunity to plant little mustard seeds of great faith in the lives of those around us! We have the power of the Kingdom of heaven within us and can share this daily. It is the Lord and his Spirit that speaks and moves in lives; this brings true change. Yet we are his vessels, his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20); if we seek and abide in Him, there will be good fruit (John 15:1-17). Others will come to know Him through us if so! And it has come to my realization the past several weeks, in the paradoxes (joys and sorrows) of leaving here to go to Ecuador, that the very reason I am going, is the same reason I want to stay. I care for people, and want to share the love of the Lord with them!
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (13:44-46).
Of course, God isn’t leading each of us to “sell all he/she has” to obtain such treasure. But over the past several years of life, it has been confirmed time and time again, that this is what I am to do. When I think of my “hidden treasure” and “pearl of great value,” I think of a life focused on the unseen. Today in the Jesus Calling devotional (June 15), it shares the verse from 2 Corinthians 4:18:
“We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
What can be seen/had today but is temporary? Entertainment, material things, self- and instant-gratification. What is eternal? Building real relationships with others, unconditional love, serving others, sincerity, and sharing the hope of an eternal life/relationship with the Creator of the universe! In the devotional, it also said,
“The curse of this age is overstimulation of the senses, which blocks out awareness of the unseen world.
The tangible world still reflects My Glory, to those who have eyes that see and ears that hear.
Spending time alone with Me is the best way to develop seeing eyes and hearing ears.”
So in the midst of the craziness of this/my life, today I STOPPED. Honestly, it wouldn’t have happened had I not come down with a cold (sickness). But because of this, I did spend more time with Him. And many of the things that have been stirred up in my heart the past week, I shared here with you. Being thankful, and finding God and joy in every moment, is a huge part our faith! Sometimes we need to be humbled before God brings us back up to where He is leading us.
I ask that you will be praying for me and my family/friends, as soon I will be beginning the new chapter of my life serving in Ecuador! Right now I am continuing to climb further out on a limb, but as of next Friday (my last day working at In-N-Out Burger!), I will have jumped into a new place! To where, I really can’t know; but what I do know, is that I’m jumping out into the Arms of Love and of Grace. And I will continue to trust that He’s got it all (myself included!) in the palm of His hands!
(and my goal is to be in Ecuador by the end of July/beginning of August!)